I live to eat

July 14, 2010

I love food. Anyone who knows me knows that.

It is a part of my DNA and my heritage, going back to my childhood and growing up in New Haven, Connecticut where my father operated a luncheonette. I also worked there as an adolescent and during my early teenage years. Some of my fondest memories involve shucking clams on my back porch and enjoying authentic Italian food, especially Sally’s Pizza (arguably the best pizza in the U.S.) on Wooster Street in New Haven. Sundays meant neighbors gathering at our home for a special brunch that included (my favorite) sausage and peppers.

Food is important to me to this day. Some “eat to live,” I “live to eat.” In fact, I actually plan my vacations – whether east coast, west coast or overseas – around good food and outstanding restaurants.  When in New York, I still frequent one of my teenage haunts, Grand Central Station, where The Oyster Bar is outstanding and fair game. In San Francisco, I have to stop myself from eating my way entirely through their incredible Farmer’s Market.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. For me, it is all about the entire experience. A good meal with great service shared with outstanding company.  I am fortunate to have family and friends living in different regions of the country.  When making plans to visit we always discuss the pending menu.

I think it all comes down to an appreciation of individuals (in this case: food preparers and servers; wine growers; etc.) who strive to be the best and are passionate about what they do. In turn, it shows in the final product, which stands apart from the everyday. It’s what we strive for at Dover and why, I’m sure such experiences continue to resonate – for me and, in turn, my clients.

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Smoking Ban

January 4, 2010

When I was an undergrad, I worked at a bar. The pay was good, the hours weren’t too bad, and my friends frequently stopped in to keep me company.

But arriving home at 3 a.m. and smelling like I’d rolled in a field of cigarette butts wasn’t pleasant. And waking up in the morning feeling like I’d swallowed a piece of insulation wasn’t great either.

People were allowed to smoke in bars then. I accepted it because there wasn’t an alternative, but I didn’t enjoy it. As a nonsmoker the idea of smoke-free establishments only seems fair. Why should I have to smell like your cigarette?

The pleasure of coming home after a night out and not having my hair and clothing carry the odor of sulfur is exhilarating. I don’t have to shower before bed for fear the ingrained smokiness will seep into my pillows. I can wear the same jeans the next day without getting a whiff of stale smoke every time I take a step.

I have friends who smoke, and though it might be an inconvenience for them, they have no problem leaving a bar or restaurant when they need a few drags. Banning smoking in public establishments is in the same realm as banning cell phone use while driving; it’s about the safety and consideration of others.

The smoking ban in Michigan is set to take effect May 1, 2010. Although most major cities already have a ban in place (even isolated Columbia, Mo.), it’s been a rocky road for Michigan legislators. And if you ask me, it’s been a long time coming.

– Missy Schwartz


Caffeine

December 28, 2009

In my previous life, I had a job at a wire service distributing press releases. By some stroke of luck, I was the person in charge of opening the office every morning … at 5:30.

The tiny coffee shop in the lobby didn’t open until 6, and upon seeing my listless figure round the corner, the little man who owned it would start preparing my usual: a triple-shot latte and a toasted bagel. I’d pay the nice man, attempt to form a smile and retreat to my office.

The ritual seemed harmless; the coffee was good, and the bagels were delicious. But a few months into my habit, I woke up on a Saturday morning and felt like someone had taken a pickax to my forehead. I took some Advil, sat on the couch and waited for the pain to dissipate, but it didn’t.

My mom has always woken up at the crack of dawn to a cup (or two) of black coffee. When I got my first apartment, she bought me a shiny Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, but only so that she didn’t have to forgo her morning fix when she came to visit; the splitting headaches of caffeine withdrawal are no fun.

I was forced to quit my caffeine habit cold turkey in an effort to bypass the weekend headaches. Even now I fear drinking caffeine several days in a row.

With today’s on-the-go mentality, caffeine has become a staple in many lives. For most, the benefits outweigh the dangers, but do we really know what we’re getting ourselves into? Perhaps we’re taking on too much.

Think about that the next time you reach for your morning cup. A good night’s sleep might be a better alternative.

– Missy Schwartz